A brilliant historical mystery series begins: in gaslit Victorian London, writer Thomas De Quincey must become a detective to clear his own name.
Thomas De Quincey, infamous for his memoir Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, is the major suspect in a series of ferocious mass murders identical to ones that terrorized London forty-three years earlier.
The blueprint for the killings seems to be De Quincey's essay On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts. Desperate to clear his name but crippled by opium addiction, De Quincey is aided by his devoted daughter Emily and a pair of determined Scotland Yard detectives.
In Murder as a Fine Art, David Morrell plucks De Quincey, Victorian London, and the Ratcliffe Highway murders from history. Fogbound streets become a battleground between a literary star and a brilliant murderer, whose lives are linked by secrets long buried but never forgotten.
A killer copying the brutal 1811 Ratcliffe Highway murders terrorizes 1854 London in this brilliant crime thriller from Morrell (First Blood). The earlier slaughters, attributed to a John Williams, were the subject of a controversial essay by Thomas De Quincey entitled "On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts." A man who considers himself an "artist of death" duplicates the first set of Williams's killings by using a mallet and a knife to dispatch a shopkeeper, his wife, their two children (including an infant), and a servant. The similarities send the police after De Quincey, who, aided by his able daughter Emily, must vindicate himself and catch the killer. Morrell tosses in the political machinations of Lord Palmerston, then Home Secretary, who has been promoting revolution in Europe to assure Great Britain's political dominance. Everything works the horrifying depiction of the murders, the asides explaining the impact of train travel on English society, nail-biting action sequences making this book an epitome of the intelligent page-turner.
One of the finest examples of historical fiction in print
This book starts off fast and doesn't let up until the end.
A lovely surprise
It was most enjoyable being carried back to London in the 1800s while becoming deeply involved in a historically accurate tale of horrendous deeds written with great Victorian Gothic élan.
The novel was gripping and highly entertaining. Well done!
London in the 1850s - there are murders afoot - eerily similar to murders that occurred many years ago - from a madman they say - that were never to happen again - truly historical fiction at its finest making it difficult to separate fact from fiction - so climb aboard the coach with Thomas De Quincy as your guide ( the real life basis for Sherlock himself) - Recommended highly!!!